Hye Min Cho, Maru Garcia, Maura Palacios Mejia: Morphogenesis I: coast, shrub, forest

  • ©2021, Hye Min Cho, Maru Garcia, and Maura Palacios Mejia



    Morphogenesis I: coast, shrub, forest


Creation Year:


Artist Statement:

    Soil is the foundation for healthy ecosystems and plays an important role in sustaining life. Soil serves as the baseline for life and provides a variety of ecosystems and societal functions. Despite sustaining the world’s demands of food, fibers, and fuels, regulating Earth’s air and water quality, and storing greenhouse gases, the value of soil, commonly termed “dirt”, is often dismissed. This human disconnect from this important source of life, especially in the middle of our climate crisis, needs to be addressed as a vital sustainability practice. Soil health is largely dependent on a diverse thriving microorganism composition. This unseen world of microorganism biodiversity (diversity of life) can be detected, enumerated, and characterized through advancement in molecular methods such as the use of Environmental DNA (eDNA). This tool takes advantage of DNA found in the environment, from organisms in the form of feces, skin cells, pollen, whole cells (microbes) that can then be collected from soil, sediment, water, and even air! We can use the eDNA from the sample to obtain information on the organisms found in soil from microbes, plants, and vertebrates. From the Greek morphê – shape, and genesis – creation, literally means “the generation of form.” Morphogenesis is the process that controls the spatial organization and distribution of cells during the development of an organism. An example of this mechanism includes the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly, which demonstrates the ability of an organism’s cells to self-organize a new body shape. However, morphogenesis also represents coordinated behavior to build and develop the shape, position, and interconnection of a structure, for example, the replicated pattern of termite mounds. Morphogenesis is a transcending concept that captivates the human imagination. Morphogenesis captures the essence of this project, by expressing how soil can be considered a complex living organism in combination with the computational process of neural cellular automata.